(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Slowly and silently, a group of IDF soldiers moved from section to section of the Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem Wednesday—from the graves of soldiers killed in the 1948 War of Independence to the casualties of 2014’s Operation Protective Edge—to honor Israel’s fallen soldiers.
Carrying out the “Flag for the Fallen” initiative, in its 16th year, the soldiers placed a small Israeli flag marked with a black ribbon at each headstone. The graves are being decorated in preparation for the events of Israel’s Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism, which begins at sundown Sunday.
By the time Memorial Day (Yom Hazikaron) begins, every grave of a fallen soldier in Israel’s military cemeteries, and in the military sections of civilian cemeteries, will be marked with the special flag.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot told those gathered at the Mount Herzl cemetery, “IDF soldiers and officers will continue to operate in the spirit of the legacy of the fallen—a legacy of love for their country and a deep sense of devotion. That has always been the greatness of the people of Israel, the ability to rise above the pain and the regret, to remember the past and act for the sake of the future.”
Also Wednesday, some 6,000 Israeli youths visited the graves of 148 fallen soldiers who were also Holocaust survivors and were laid to rest in Israel’s military cemeteries, but have no living relatives to visit their final resting places. A state ceremony honoring Holocaust survivors who were killed in Israel’s 1948 war was held at the Mount Herzl cemetery.